Event Review - Holly Inks' 'Censor Me, I Dare You' exhibition!
Featuring artwork by no less than 200 artists, Holly Inks' latest exhibition - Censor Me, I Dare You - successfully came to life on March 4, 2022 at an intimate studio location in Shoreditch, London; and each and every inch of the venue's walls was lavished with an imaginative and eclectic range of artwork censoring the artist's nipples. Here, in pictures, is our exclusive rundown of our visit to this impactful and much-anticipated event.
An initiative that was designed to make a statement about censorship and stick two fingers up at a society that frowns hypocritically at the female form, Censor Me, I Dare You was conceived only three months prior to the exhibition opening its doors - which is a testament not only to Holly and her team for bringing everything together so quickly, but also to the 200 artists from across the globe who responded to the call for submissions in quite some style. Between them, they conjured up a fascinatingly diverse array of artwork that is all based on the same 30cm x 30cm topless photo that Holly provided of herself and, as you'll see in the images throughout our review, the level of creativity in the final designs was outstanding to say the least.
Having generated a significant buzz online prior to the event (which we alluded to in our extended show preview last month), we arrived at the much-anticipated one-day exhibition - which was open to the public from midday to 8pm - shortly after 2pm, and it was no great surprise to see that a strong crowd had already gathered, with visitors (and many of the contributors) all stopping by to see the intriguing range of submissions on show.
After being warmly greeted by the lady of the hour upon arrival, we subsequently had the pleasure of speaking with Holly about some of the elements that went into making the show the overwhelming success it had clearly become. Interestingly, Holly revealed to us that each of the 200 pieces on show - which covered two large walls on either side of the studio - were placed in position based purely on what the artist found the most aesthetically pleasing, rather than in any pre-set or specific order; and furthermore, we were particularly impressed by the fact that Holly knew exactly where each and every piece could be found, and that she was able to direct us to any piece we happened to mention with instant recall and lightning-like reflexes!
As some of our readers may already be aware, each of the 200 pieces on show were also being auctioned off for charity, and the one-week auction period was set to come to an end later on in the day to coincide with the exhibition closing its doors (after a busy and boozy finale, we're told). It was heart-warming to see online that many of the pieces had deservedly reached bids that were as high as the £75-80 mark, and with each of the artists donating proceeds from the sales to a charity of their own choosing, it can't be over-emphasised just how beneficial the initiative was from not only from a creative point of view, but from a fundraising perspective also. Specially designed pads of paper bearing Holly's name and logo were available for visitors to make a note of their favourite pieces as they strolled around the venue, which was another nice touch that further encouraged visitors to place bids on their favourites.
Although the exhibition was originally designed as a one-day only event, the level of interest and its overall success has also resulted in the creation of a second event later this month - and Holly, along with each of the 200 pieces, will also now be travelling to Loughborough for a three-day extravaganza running from March 18-20. Kicking off with An Evening With Holly Inks on the 18th, an open gallery located at 40 Market Street will then be available to visitors across the weekend, with guests being welcomed from 10am-5pm on both days. Holly mentioned to us that she's hoping to take her shows on the road a little more frequently in the future, and hinted that she may even come up with a full UK tour for subsequent exhibitions, so do stay tuned to Holly's website in the coming weeks and months if you're unable to make the upcoming dates.
There is also set to be a follow-up project and exhibition - tentatively named Censor Me, Again (a title that's likely to change, we're told) - and any artists who are interested in being involved second time around will have the opportunity to submit work for the sequel which is due to take place later in 2022. Judging by everything we've seen in connection with the event over on Instagram, the concept has been a fantastic way of uniting artists of all disciplines and backgrounds from across the world - all for an extremely important and valid cause - and it's so refreshing to find an event that can accommodate artists with so many different styles, backgrounds and experiences.
It was particularly interesting seeing how many of the body positivity artists we've interviewed in the past would respond to the brief, and having seen their artwork up close and in person on the day, it's fair to say that they undoubtedly delivered some of the best art on show in the entire exhibition. Special congrats to Dolly Daydream Art, Katie Hughes, Antonia Jolley and Ellie Coombs for four really stunning designs.
Our thanks go out to Holly for a genuinely fantastic exhibition, and please feel free to check out our gallery below for even more of our images from the day - and let us know which your favourites are in the comments section below!
Holly Inks is a UK-based artist who describes herself as sweary, sarcastic, petty, rude and crude – and as mentioned before, her art is not suitable for Grandma! To find out more about Censor Me, I Dare You and to see Holly’s extensive range of work (which includes a fantastic series of rude pottery), head on over to her website at www.hollyinks.com and follow the artist on Instagram at @holly.inks.